Orient Place

Orient Place

Thursday, 14 May 2020

The Rarest Orient Of All?


We've covered some rare and unusual watches in the blog before, but the model we will be looking at today is probably the rarest of them all. It is the Royal Orient reference WE0011DU.



The Royal WE0011DU was among a few models released by Orient ten years ago, in celebration of the brand's 60th anniversary. It was, of course, the most exclusive (and expensive, by some margin) of the lot: a limited edition of just 12 (twelve!) pieces.

The specs of this beast were impressive enough, certainly close to the top of Orient's all-time releases, both in their mechanics as well as the esthetics.



The movement was caliber 48Z40, a uniquely skeletonized variant of the 48 family, similar to caliber 48B56 found in other, "standard" Royal Orient Skeletons (as much as these can be called standard). However, looking at the finish and unique bridge construction of the movement, it is obvious a lot of effort had gone into making this piece stand out.

Similar to other 48 calibers, the movement is hand-winding only, boasting 50 hours of power reserve and stated accuracy of +10/-5 seconds per day, at a frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour.

The case of the WE0011DU was 38.5mm wide, 45.5mm lug to lug, and 10.1 mm thick. Both front and back were covered by sapphire glass, not surprisingly. The watch case and dial feature plenty of finely finished surfaces, both mirror- and satin-polished, achieved through much more manual work than even most Royal Orient models.

Looking beyond the specs, this unique Orient must have been quite a sight, and it's a shame that so little information and real-life photos of it are available! But it makes sense that costing close to 6,000 USD (roughly 2.5 times the cost of "regular" Royal Orient skeleton models!) and being produced in such a small quantity, it has become a safe-queen for most of its owners.



I do like to set some fairly tough targets for my collection, and as followers of the blog must have noted I have succeeded in acquiring some models that are very hard to get. But to be honest, I'm not even aiming at finding the WE0011DU! I'd be happy to even see some photos of this watch. Just to be sure the legendary beast even exists…


8 comments:

  1. Hi. An enjoyable article as always!

    I have not seen it in person either, but I almost happened to encounter it. When I visited a local shop three years ago, the shop owner said that he had stocked it until a few days ago. Somebody found out it was there and rushed to buy it. Although I'm not a big fan of skeleton watches, it would be a pleasure to see it in real life.

    By the way, did you know of this model and think about getting it when it was released in 2010?

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    1. Hi. Thanks for sharing this near-encounter... Almost as good as seeing the actual thing :)

      And no, I was not aware of this model in real time. I only learned about it a couple of years ago.

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  2. Oh, one of these old things? I have one in the bottom of my sock drawer!

    Ha!

    Super interesting read. Love the dimensions on that watch. Bet it wears awesome. I hope you have the chance to see one in person some day!

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  3. Sorry didnt know how to edit. Great post and it seems the royal orients are going around 2k-3k nowadays....have my eyes out in a full skeleton watch but need to save up....hahaha

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    1. Thanks! actually seeing a fairly broad price range. some RO's remain in the 1k-2k range, mainly the older ones with smaller cases that are not gold. But I also see asking prices above 4K, for the later models - e.g. the retrograde, or the high beat models (cal. 88x00)

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  4. theres one for sale on Mercari right now !

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    1. Wow. I'm not seeing it! Seeing Royals, seeing Skeletons, not seeing this one!

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